Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pens, Inks, and Brass Blazer Buttons

Downtown between Washington and Tremont Streets, are some of the most interesting and great shops.  Two of them are particularly archaic by today's standards:  Bromfield Pen and Windsor Button.  I stopped into Bromfield Pen Shop to buy a new jar of ink, and this is where I wax nostalgic, telling you that letter writing is a dying art, blah blah blah.  I write at least two letters or cards per week, generally as thank you notes or as letters to relatives and friends, partially from liking letter writing and partly because Mrs. continues to buy tasteful stationary in abundance.  If you think that I am self-absorbed when it comes to blogging, Good Lord, you should hear the self-obsessed tone of my pompous letters to friends and relatives... talk about a jackass.


More inks. 

Still more inks. 

Fancy French ink. Ooooo (la la). 

 This is the one I bought.  the cheap bottle of Sheaffer ink was the only sensibly shaped bottle with a profile alluding to an old ink well.  If you have ever spilled a bottle of this stuff, this shape will be very appealing to you.

Tray after tray of fountain pens.  What good is having a nice (or expensive) fountain pen if you never write anybody letters or cards?  So what if your penmanship isn't steady?

Later that day, I was browsing through the basement of an old Boston library, where the card catalog has thousands of hand-written cards from when pen and ink was all there was.

If I'm sounding full of myself, it's because clearly I am.  I keep a blog of my opinions and clothing... what more evidence do you need to prove that I am full of myself?

Stroll a block or two towards Locke-Ober (a fantastic place to dress nicely for a date) and cut through the tiny alley to Temple Place where you will find another store that also somehow still exists.  Windsor Button.

Massive bins of buttons that you can buy singly or by the pound.  The majority of their stock is actually well-organized.

Blazer missing a button?  It's safe to say that they will have an excellent replacement. 

I met a guy this year who had all of his buttons on his blazer replaced.  He painstakingly picked out ten different buttons... two normal sized brass ones for the front, and each of the four brass buttons on each sleeve were different (though all the same size).  It was a gutsy and cool look.  It could only be cooler if each button had a specific meaning or angle to it (like ten grandchildren at ten different schools).


  1. You just invented the charm-blazer, as opposed to the charm-bracelet. "This button has a little golf club, this one a little State Seal of Massachusetts, a little yachting cap...."

    We should set up a company to produce these and make millions. You need me as a partner because all of your ideas will be too tasteful--Charm Blazers will have their heaviest appeal to the crass- and kitsch-prone.
    --Road to Parnassus

  2. I have taken to replacing most buttons on my coats. It is a great way to take something run of the mill and add a little personality.

    I do usually get an odd look from the shop manager when I stroll in to Windsor Button...I am guessing I don't quite fit the profile of their daily clientele.

  3. "I keep a blog of my opinions and clothing... what more evidence do you need to prove that I am full of myself?"

    Best line I've read in a while. I think you should put it in the header of your blog. Fantastic.

  4. *Parnassus: Not a bad idea. Not bad at all. I'll give it a go for my next blazer as a test run.

    *Phillip: You're not a middle-aged female urban knitter?

    *Turling: There are a few of us who actually admit it. A few.

  5. Hey! I'm a middle-aged female urban knitter!

    Do you think in the next post, you could obtain a more upscale pad of paper? I'm kind of disappointed.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.